Huckabee to Palin: Don't quit the party

A curious bit at the tail end of an otherwise complimentary segment on the ‘Cuda from last night’s Greta. Says Huck, “I’m a little concerned when I hear her say that she may sort of branch out and go third party or go independent.” I wasn’t aware that she’d ever said that, only that she’d be willing to campaign for Democrats if they’re sufficiently conservative. (Reception thus far: Lukewarm to chilly.) My read on Huck is that he’s always working an angle so I assume he interjected the third-party stuff here to plant a seed of doubt in viewers’ minds about her commitment to the GOP. Fair enough, but from a strategic standpoint, he’s much better off if she goes her own way. Granted, a third-party Palin candidacy in 2012 would probably ruin Republicans’ chances, but a Palin candidacy for the nomination would absolutely ruin Huckabee’s. He’d bleed evangelical support and lose his ability to position himself as the “conservative choice” head-to-head with Romney. His best hope (if she runs) is that she skips the primaries and goes independent, leaving Huck to play the “a vote for Palin is a vote for Obama” card on the conservative base in a three-way race for the presidency.

Speaking of Huck and Palin, Greg Pollowitz pushes back against my post from yesterday and says there is indeed a path to the nomination for Iron Mike. In a nutshell, he’d have to win Iowa, then leverage Christian votes to take South Carolina, which in turn would propel him to victory over Romney in Florida and unstoppable momentum everywhere else. Really, though? Even in states that usually don’t matter in the Republican primary, like California and Massachusetts? The more I think about a two-man Huckabee/Romney race, the more I think it has the potential to be a 50-state campaign a la Obama/Hillary, which could pay nice political dividends for the GOP given its identity these days as an exclusively southern party. How sweet — and galvanizing for state parties — would it be if Republicans in New York, say, or a few other big blues finally had a role in picking the next nominee?